Tips for Weeding GlitterFlex Ultra – Weeding Intricate Designs in GlitterFlex Ultra

I love glitter heat transfer vinyl, such as GlitterFlex Ultra. It cuts great and looks beautiful on garments. And, it weeds great …as long as you are not cutting and weeding small pieces.

However, I often use GlitterFlex Ultra on baby bodysuits, (or even doll shirts… talk about teeny tiny pieces) which sometimes requires weeding very small areas. And, this is when I don’t love it quite so much!

GlitterFlex Ultra on Doll Shirt

It is difficult to see the cut lines on this vinyl. Additionally, it can be a bit “stretchy” when I am weeding around tiny pieces and sometimes pieces get stretched out of shape or accidentally broken off.

I love GlitterFlex Ultra too much to quit using it. But I’d also like to keep my sanity. So, I’ve done a little research and a lot of practice to figure out some tricks to make weeding easier. It’s not perfection, but certainly has made things less frustrating.

  • I like to check my file to see if it needs any node editing, welding, etc. (I am not too fond of Make The Cut’s node editing feature, so I do most of that in Inkscape. However I do re-check and make final adjustments in MTC if needed.) Typically, I change the number and/or position of nodes before cutting, especially when working with fonts.
  • Below is an example of something that can be easily adjusted. The “c” almost touches the “h”, but not quite. It will be easier to weed if they are welded. I could slightly shadow this and that would probably take care of it. Or, letters could be moved horizontally. But, since the other letters are already touching, I’d prefer to simply use the “handle” of the node to take the “end” of the “c” and stretch it into the “h” before welding the letters together.
  • I have learned to take time to add weed lines. If I have an intricate design or text, I like to make a box or rectangle around it first. It works well to make the lines on or just outside of the bounding box.
  • Next, I add more weed lines closer in. That way, if I’m having trouble seeing where lines are, at least I can weed out the outer portion, just inside the bounding box weed lines first. That gets me close to my design without having to worry about accidentally weeding out something that I didn’t intend to. Then I can really take my time and weed carefully as I work closer to the design. (I use an Xacto knife for weeding so I can always use that to make a few more weed lines manually while I’m actually doing the weeding.)
  • It’s important to make sure settings are correct. Don’t give in to the temptation of giving too much blade exposure. GlitterFlex Ultra seems thicker than regular ThermoFlex Plus, for example. But I find that I can keep my exposure the same or very slightly increased. Too much blade has a tendency to lift tiny pieces on fonts. The font in the illustration above has a slight little curl on the top of the “C”, and it will lift up if the blade is out too much. Actually, that is usually my first clue that my blade exposure is excessive.

These are the settings that work best with my KNK Zing:

  1. Force – 50 – 60 (The manual says 30 – 40, but I found the higher force to be helpful. You will have to find what works best for you.)
  2. Speed – 10
  3. Multicut – 2
  4. Blade Height – About the same as used for regular vinyl, or very slightly more exposure. The manual suggests a height of 25 Post-It notes as a starting point.
  5. Blade – I use the blue blade. The manual suggests the red blade.
  • Some have suggested rubbing baby powder over the cut lines to make them show up better. I didn’t have any baby powder so I tried corn starch, which did help a little bit.
  • Another suggestion is to put the vinyl in the freezer for a bit after cutting. The cold causes the vinyl to shrink slightly, thereby making the cut lines more visible. This does help, but the trouble is that the vinyl warms back up very, very quickly. Especially so if there is a lamp illuminating the work area.
  • Which brings me to…. by all means, if you don’t have good lighting and a magnifying glass, you must invest in both of those. Here is my set-up:

After trying all of these suggestions… and more. Here is what I found works for me.

  • I put my vinyl in the freezer after cutting. How long? I think a half hour is about right. I actually left it for a couple of hours while we went to dinner. It was VERY stiff… too stiff. But, it was just fine in a few minutes anyway.
  • Next, I use corn starch on it. It seems to help a little, especially after the vinyl has shrunk a bit in the freezer. It can be kind of messy. I sprinkle a little on a piece of paper and then dip my finger in it and rub it on the vinyl.
  • The final piece of the puzzle that seems to make everything work is keeping the surface below the vinyl cold so that it doesn’t warm up too quickly. You can see in the photo above that I have a square piece of quartz countertop that I use as a surface when weeding. (It’s a sample from a cabinet shop.) I found if I put this in the refrigerator or freezer, it stays cold and keeps the vinyl cool while weeding. If I let it get super cold, it sweats as it warms up. But I didn’t find it to be a problem. I just wiped it off a couple of times. I believe a ceramic tile would work in place of the quartz.

With all of these steps in place, I must say that GlitterFlex Ultra still does not weed as easily as regular HTV, such as ThermoFlex Plus. But, it has made some of my projects go from being nearly impossible, to manageable. And since a couple of these are projects I do over and over, it has certainly made the experience much more enjoyable!

 

Applying HTV to a Vinyl Tote

I actually made something just for me today! I created a cute laptop bag by applying HTV to a reversible vinyl tote that I picked up at our local Walmart.

Apply HTV to Reversible Tote

I’d seen these online but was a bit nervous about using my heat press on a vinyl bag. However, by starting with a low temperature and “inching” my way up until I got the results I wanted, I was able to successfully adhere the vinyl without melting the bag. I made a couple of mistakes through the process, but nothing disastrous.

Materials:

  1. Vinyl tote. I found mine at Walmart, but have seen there various places.
  2. ThermoFlex Plus
  3. GlitterFlex Ultra
  4. Red or Blue Capped Blade
  5. Parchment Paper
  6. Make The Cut!
  7. Heat Press

Settings for KNK Zing:

  1. Speed – 10
  2. Force – 18 for ThermoFlex, 50 for GlitterFlex
  3. Mulitcut – 1 for ThermoFlex, 1 or 2 for GlitterFlex

Steps:

  1. Open design in, or import into Make The Cut!
  2. Don’t forget to MIRROR your design before cutting.
  3. Cut and weed vinyl.
  4. Place parchment paper inside your bag so that it doesn’t stick together when you press it. If you forget (like I did) you can carefully pull it back apart while it is still warm.
  5. Carefully place the bag on your heat press. You might need to use a pressing pillow, folded cloth, or other item to build up under the area you want to press. (I did not do this on the first press and was not able to get a good even press.) I used a block of wood for this. The thickness of the wood kept the heat press from snapping shut, which simply meant I had to hold the press down and manually apply the pressure.I added a piece of wood under the heat press pad.
  6. Make sure you use a Teflon or other protective sheet between your heat press platen and your HTV.
  7. I wasn’t sure what temperature to use so started at 200 degrees for 17 seconds. Close up of textureThis was not nearly hot enough, so I increased the temperature gradually until I got good results at 300 degrees for about 15 seconds. I would suggest trying first at a lower temperature since your heat press may differ some from mine. Make sure that you see the texture of your bag through the vinyl before you peel off the clear transfer sheet.
  8. If you are adding another color or glitter HTV, repeat the process for the next layer. When you are done and the transfer sheet is removed, press one more time with the Teflon sheet in place.

There are a couple of places on my bag that got pressed a little too much and it flattened the texture of the bag. This is from pressing unevenly, across the handles. After I used the block of wood to raise the portion I was pressing, I no longer had this problem. Since I made it for myself, I won’t worry about these imperfections since they really aren’t noticeable.

Love my HTV vinyl bag.

 

 

Onsies

Oh my, I think I have found my new favorite thing…onesies!  A year or so ago I bought a heat press. A friend asked me to make a onesie for her and the first one that I did I scorched the shoulder seams. I have since learned that  you need to elevate the area that you are pressing so that it is higher than the rest of the onesie. You can do this by placing a folded wash cloth inside the onesie or by purchasing a Teflon pillow to slide inside the shirt.

 

IMG_4743_opt IMG_4745_opt IMG_4802_opt IMG_4747_opt I could just keep the pictures coming, my poor husband is sick of hearing “Sam, look at this one”!

MATERIALS

Glitterflex Ultra

Onesies

SETTINGS

15″ MAXX

Heat press

red capped blade

Force 75

Speed 400

When making anything with Heat Transfer vinyl you need to make your design and then mirror the image so that when place on the shirt it reads correctly. Then  place the vinyl on the mat so that you are cutting the vinyl and not the carrier sheet. And lastly, you weed the vinyl. Once you have it weeded you line it up where you want it on your shirt and then press. There is a lot of online help for determining proper placement.

I used Glitterflex Ultra from KNKUSA.